A CAMPAIGN to bring back the old shires and redraw the map of Great Britain have been met with scepticism in the region.

If the proposals to recreate the country's 86 historic counties of Great Britain are successful, it could mean places such as Stockton and Sunderland would be back under County Durham, and Middlesbrough would return to the fold in Yorkshire.

The Association of British Counties is not asking for the county councils to be reinstated, but for each old county to have a ceremonial status with their own Lord Lieutenants.

However, councillors in the two areas believe that the campaigners should leave well alone because the idea would only cause more confusion.

Leader of Hambleton, District Councillor June Imeson MBE, who was recognised in the Queen's New Year's Honours list, said there was no point returning to the past.

Coun Imeson, who lives in Great Ayton and represents the village, said: "I do not agree with the idea of keeping revisiting things and like the saying goes, if it isn't broken, don't fix it.

"There are still people who are not sure where they live and which county they belong to. Why confuse matters further?''

Councillor Brian Myers MBE, also recognised in the latest honours list, agreed with Coun Imeson.

The Durham county councillor for Willington, near Bishop Auckland, said: "My initial reaction would be that people are confused enough. We need to look ahead, instead of to the past.

"I can see where they are coming from on the ceremonial point, but at the end of the day I think the taxpayers would much prefer improvement in services instead of pomp and ceremony."